The Peterhof Palace is one of the most beautiful palaces of the Tzars. It is often compared to the French Versailles, even called “Russian Versailles”, in particular because of the Peterhof Palace fountains and gardens. The visit to the Peterhof Grand Palace must be prepared in advance as the palace is quite far from Saint Petersburg.
Peterhof is in our TOP 5 places to see in St Petersburg in summer, after the Hermitage Museum and the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood of course. However, in winter, I would recommend to visit the Catherine Palace instead of the Peterhof Palace.
The Peterhof Palace was built in 1723 on Peter I commission. “Peterhof” means “The Stone Court” in Dutch. At the beginning of the 18th century, Peter I traveled a lot in Europe. Returning to Russia, he therefore wanted to breathe new life into the Russian Empire, drawing on what he learned in Holland. This is how he founded Saint Petersburg and also the Peterhof Palace.
Peterhof is inspired by the Palace of Versailles. Peter I himself stayed at Versailles in the spring of 1717. It was there that he planned to surpass the fountains of Versailles. Dozens of sketches and notes referring to it are kept.
What to see at Peterhof Palace in St Petersburg?
The Peterhof set consists of 3 parts:
- Peterhof Grand Palace;
- Lower park;
- Upper garden.
Peterhof Grand Palace
Majestic. 268m of facades.
The Peterhof Grand Palace has several ceremonial rooms, paintings, Chinese cabinets decorated in the Oriental. One of the rooms is covered with 368 paintings.
Note that this is a reconstruction, because the Nazi army burned and detonated the palace during the 2nd World War. The reconstruction was completed in 1964.
Good to know! There is often a long wait to access the Peterhof Grand Palace, even with a ticket purchased on the Internet.
Find out more about Peterhof Grand Palace on the official website, in English.
The lower park is based on the model of a French garden. Many trees have grown since then, but we find the geometric structure of this type of garden. The garden was created by Jean Baptiste Le Blond, a pupil of André Le Nôtre, the creator of the gardens of Versailles.
It is in this garden that the most beautiful fountains of Peterhof are found. In particular the large waterfall which overlooks a canal which flows into the gulf. The garden is very large: 102ha. It is divided into three parts:
- West: called “Marly”, reference to the castle of Marly-Le-Roi;
- East: called “Monplaisir”.
Among the important elements to find in the lower park, we have:
- Voronikhin colonnades;
- big waterfall;
- Samson fountain;
- fountains on the terrace;
- Nymphe and Danaïde fountains;
- avenue of fountains;
- Triton fountain;
- chess cascade;
- Roman fountains.
It is very pleasant to walk in this garden. We spent several hours there.
Read more about the lower park (on the official website, in English).
The upper garden also contains many fountains and sculptures. It is however different in its construction and style. There are statutes of German and Italian artists. The upper garden is smaller: 15ha.
Read more about the upper garden (on the official website, in English).
Peterhof Palace fountains (176!)
As we said, the objective of Peter I was to make fountains more impressive than those of Versailles. Fountains, there are so many! 176 fountains to be precise. They are supplied with water without a pump. It is gravity that makes the pumps work thanks to an aqueduct network. It is an implementation of Marly’s machine.
Please note, the fountains are not in operation all year round.
The most famous fountains are:
- the Grand Cascade
- the Samson fountain
The Grand Cascade
This is the classic photo of Peterhof: the Grand Cascade with the palace in the background. Dozens of water jets, hundreds of sculptures and marble. There is a cave behind the Grand Cascade which can be visited with a different ticket. The Grand Cascade is one of the most beautiful Peterhof Palace fountains.
Read more about the Grand Cascade of Peterhof (on the official website, in English).
The Samson fountain
At the end of the large waterfall stands the sculpture “Samson crushing the lion’s jaws”.
Read more about the Samson fountain (on the official website, in English).
How to get to Peterhof Palace from St Petersbourg?
The palace is located 30km from the center of Saint Petersburg. You can reach Peterhof by (more details below):
- Boat (Meteor): from around mid-April to mid-October;
- Car or Taxi;
- Suburban train.
Take a boat to get to Peterhof (Meteor)
It is the most convenient way to get to Peterhof. “Hydrofoil” boats leave from Saint Petersburg city center, behind the Winter Palace, to reach the quay leading directly into the Peterhof gardens. These boats are called the “Meteor”. The journey is fast and comfortable.
- Price: ~ 1600 rubles for round trip
- Duration: 30 mins
- Frequency: Every 15 minutes
- Hours: from 10 a.m.
- Opening period: approximately from April 15 to October 15
- From St. Petersburg: Admiralty Embankment and Palace Embankment. See on Google Maps.
- Quay at Peterhof: Quay in the lower park. See on Google Maps.
You can buy tickets at ticket offices on the platform, in St. Petersburg and at Peterhof. You can also buy them on the Internet. There are several websites, in English:
Taxi from St Petersburg to Peterhof
You can reach Peterhof by Taxi. You can use a mobile application at the last moment (see the post about transport in St Petersburg) or book a taxi in advance via KiwiTaxi for 25 €.
- Price: 25 € for 4 people
- Duration: 50 mins
My little advice (this is what I did with my family): go to Avtovo station by metro. It is often said that it is the most beautiful metro station in Saint Petersburg. From Avtovo, then take a taxi to Peterhof.
Go to the Peterhof Palace on bus
Buses 200 and 210 go to Peterhof Palace in just under an hour. Take the bus to the “Avtovo” Metro station (line 1, red). For the total journey from the city center, it takes 1.5 hours.
- Bus: 200 and 210
- Price: 80 rubles (a bus ticket + a metro ticket)
- Duration: 1h30 (40mn metro and 50mn bus)
- Frequency: Hourly
- All day
- Stop in Saint Petersburg: Metro station “Avtovo”. See on Google Maps.
- Stop at Peterhof: Pravlenskaya Street. See on Google Maps.
Suburban train to Peterhof Palace
First of all, note that the train station is quite far from the Palace. Plan 30 minutes of walking. There are of course buses that link in about 20 minutes (see detail below). Commuter trains are managed by the national railway company. To take your tickets, you can use the article How to buy a train ticket from Moscow to Saint Petersburg?
- Price: 140 rubles (train: 60 rubles + 1 bus ticket + 1 metro ticket)
- Duration: 1h30 bus (train: 40mn, bus: 20mn, metro: 30mn)
- Frequency: Hourly
- All day
- St Petersburg stop: Baltic Station (Baltic Station / Baltiski vokzal). See on Google Maps.
- Stop at Peterhof: New Peterhof station. See on Google Maps.
You can buy your train ticket on the railway website. The station in Saint Petersburg is called “SANKT-PETERBURG-BALTII”. The station at Peterhof is called “NOVYI PETERGOF”.
The journey from the station to the Peterhof Palace.
The station closest to the Palace is “New Peterhof”. This is important, because there is also the “Ancien Peterhof” station. You can take buses 350, 351A, 351б or 356. The ticket price is the same, 40 rubles. The closest stop to Peterhof Palace is “Pravlenskaya Street” (see on Google Maps).
Note. For your trips in the city center of Saint Petersburg, especially during the high season, do not hesitate to get away from places that are too touristy: take walks along the canals and go through other less known routes.
Where and how to buy entry Peterhof Palace tickets?
There is a ticket for each part of Peterhof:
- Lower park: 900 rubles – free in winter
- Peterhof Grand Palace: 1,000 rubles
- The big waterfall cave: 500 rubles
- Upper garden: free
There are several pavilions which can also be visited. The ticket price can go up to 500 rubles. There are student discounts on presentation of proof.
There is an audio guide in English for the Grand Palace in Peterhof which costs 500 rubles.
You can buy Peterhof Palace tickets just before visiting when you arrive. Then go through the automatic terminals to avoid the queue.
Advice. During the high season (from May to the end of August), there is a lot of waiting to be able to enter the Peterhof Grand Palace. If you only stay 3 days in St. Petersburg during this time of year, visiting the palace can take you way too long (avoid).
When to visit Peterhof Palace: timetables
The Peterhof Palace fountains are only in operation from May to October. The palace and gardens are open all year round. Here are the timetables, you can also find them on the palace website, the timetables may vary depending on exceptional events.
- Lower park: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Fountains: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Peterhof Grand Palace: 10.30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (except Monday)
- Upper garden: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Lower park: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Fountains: 10 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.
- Peterhof Grand Palace: 10.30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Upper garden: 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Sunday and / or public holiday:
- Lower park: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Fountains: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Peterhof Grand Palace: 10.30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Upper garden: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Good to know! From April 29 to September 29, there are specific entry times for single visitors and groups. Single visitors:
- Tuesday to Friday and Sunday => 12h-14h and 16h15-17h45;
- Saturday => 12h-14h and 16h15-19h45.
Visiting Peterhof Palace with an English-speaking guide
The advantage of guided group tours is that there is often room even in the high tourist season.
The Peterhof Palace provides a practical sheet in English and Russian which lists the prices and times for each pavilion, museum or palace which depends on it. Please note, the Oranienbaum Palace depends on Peterhof, you will also find the details of this palace on this sheet. It is very comprehensive, but you can get lost in it. Download the sheet from the official website.
Peterhof Palace fountains operating dates
The Peterhof fountains do not work all year round due to the winter cold in St Petersburg. The fountains are in operation from the last weekend of April to mid-October.
For 2020, the Peterhof fountains will be in operation from April 25, 2020.
An opening and closing ceremony is organized and gives rise to a sound and light show. The opening ceremony takes place on the 3rd weekend in May, while the closing ceremony takes place 1 month before closing, that is to say in mid-September.
Peterhof Palace map
Here is the official plan. You can also download the PDF version of the plan of the Peterhof Palace.
Hope this blog post helped you to plan a visit of Peterhof. I find the lower garden splendid and I love to walk there! For children, it’s always fun to play with the Peterhof Palace fountains.